Cover photo by Rahul Anil. 4 minute read.

Let’s be honest—our generation is bombarded by porn. In a digital age where hardcore porn is available for streaming 24/7 on a device that fits into our pockets, first exposure and frequent viewing of pornography starts very young.

“Kids These Days”

In fact, the average age of first exposure to porn is just 11 years old. How crazy is that? So from the beginning, before consumers even hit puberty, one of the problems porn fuels is that it trains the consumer to objectify people around them, seeing them as objects for pleasure rather than real human beings.

A while back, we got to meet Devin. Then, he was a freshman in college who had struggled with pornography since middle school. He talked to us about how porn has affected his life, specifically what it has done to his perceptions of real people and relationships. Devin gave us some real and honest insights that show a personal side of what science and research is already telling the world—pornography is harmful.

Below are some pieces of our interview with Devin, backed up with the science behind the negative effects he’s dealing with. This interview is great to read and revisit whenever you need a healthy dose of perspective.

The Interview

Devin: “The first time I saw porn was in 7th grade. It was an internet popup ad that was pretty hardcore. It was pretty bad stuff. By 8th grade, I had a fully formed habit of looking at porn.”

It is proven that porn can become an escalating addiction.

Dr. Norman Doidge writes in his book The Brain That Changes ItselfSexual tastes are molded by an individuals experiences and their culture. These tastes are acquired and then wired into the brain. We are unable to distinguish our ‘second nature’ from our ‘original nature’ because our neuroplastic brains, once rewired, develop a new nature every bit as biological as our original.”

Porn can actually rewire and condition the brain into seeking more porn, more often, and in harder versions. Dr. Donald Hilton, another world-renowned neuroscientist and researcher on the harmful effects of porn on the brain, said in his published study titled, Pornography addiction – a supranormal stimulus considered in the context of neuroplasticityPornography is the perfect laboratory for this kind of novel learning fused with a powerful pleasure incentive drive. The focused searching and clicking, looking for the perfect masturbatory subject, is an exercise in neuroplastic learning.”

Devin: “I find that these images I’ve seen stay with me. When I walk across campus and see so many beautiful girls, all I see are body parts. Literally, my eyes can’t help but fixate. I subconsciously rank potential girls by their physical appearance and the potential of hooking up with them. Porn has stopped me from being able to see girls for who they are.”

A growing field of studies have shown that porn can cause people to view other human beings as objects and decreases their satisfaction in real relationships. Regular porn consumers can make immediate physical judgments of those around them, particularly of the sex they’re attracted to, based on size, shape, and body parts. Because of this, they subconsciously begin to treat others, even boyfriends/girlfriends or husbands/wives, as objects for pleasure, and less like human beings with thoughts, feelings, and personality.

Obviously, this is the opposite of healthy love. Porn can harm real love by training the brain to only see men and women as objects to be used and discarded.

Devin: “Pornography is a super lonely endeavor. I ran to porn whenever I was lonely, yet it only breeds loneliness. It also became a crutch if I ever was bored, disappointed, or angry at myself.”

In a 2005, a study of 400 internet users displayed a significant correlation between porn consumption and loneliness. In an airbrushed and sterilized atmosphere, porn creates unrealistic expectations of physical love between two human beings— ones that real women and men could never match up to. This can naturally lead to unrealistic expectations and deep dissatisfaction for the porn consumer.

Studies show that the more porn a person consumes, the harder it becomes for them to be aroused by a real person or a real relationship. As a result, many porn consumers start feeling like something’s wrong with them—they don’t know how to be turned on by a real person, much less form a real intimate connection with one.

Why This Matters

After our chat with Devin, we referred him to Fortify, the online recovery program that helps those struggling with porn reach long-lasting freedom.

No matter who you are or what you’ve been through, there is hope. Sign up, reach out, and get support.

What YOU Can Do

If you’re not cool with the harmful effects of pornography, SHARE this article and help spread the word.

Need help?

For those reading this who feel they are struggling with an obsession or addiction to pornography, you are not alone. Check out our friends at Fortify, a recovery program that will allow you take a step toward freedom. Anyone 17 years and younger can apply for a free scholarship to the program, and there is inexpensive pricing for anyone 18 and older. There is hope—sign up today and start getting the help you need at your own pace alongside a supportive community.

Spark Conversations

This movement is all about changing the conversation about pornography. When you rep a tee, you can spark meaningful conversation on porn’s harms and inspire lasting change in individuals’ lives, and our world. Are you in? Check out all our styles in our online store, or click below to shop:

 

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